Felix Sonnyboy and the Muddy Boots
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Felix Sonnyboy and the Muddy Boots

Band Americana Blues

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Apr
28
Felix Sonnyboy and the Muddy Boots @ Boundary Bay Brewery

Bellingham, Washington, USA

Bellingham, Washington, USA

Apr
21
Felix Sonnyboy and the Muddy Boots @ Boundary Bay Brewery

Bellingham, Washington, USA

Bellingham, Washington, USA

Apr
14
Felix Sonnyboy and the Muddy Boots @ Boundary Bay Brewery

Bellingham, Washington, USA

Bellingham, Washington, USA

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Music

Press


As I wandered down Railroad Avenue towards Boundary Bay one recent Monday evening, I could tell that something was going on. There was a faint but definite “thud…thud…thud” blowing down the street and a warm glow of life radiated from the windows into the empty square. For a moment, as I stepped in the front door I felt like I could very well be stepping back in time some 70 or 80 years. The colorful band in the corner of the pub was playing a Leadbelly Christmas tune and there was an enthusiastic pack of footstompin’ roustabouts testing the bounce of the worn wooden floor. In the center of all this hubbub stood a figure short in stature but large in presence, Felix “Sonnyboy” Wilson. Playing a large, shiny steel “rez-o-phonic” guitar and dressed like a 20s bootlegger, Wilson, blew through a set of both originals and covers, all the while maintaining the steady crooning composure of a veteran.

After first meeting bassist “Double-thumbing” Don (also of Whiskey Galore) coming off of a ferry from Alaska, Wilson made his Bellingham musical debut when he was recruited to write some songs in protest of Bellingham’s fluoride initiative a couple years back. The songs were played on local radio stations and Wilson performed solo gigs around town, progressively making a name for himself. Eventually teaming up with the aforementioned Don as well as Jason “Mr. Jaybird” Darling on the drums and Phil “Cholly” Sottile on guitar, Wilson then began performing with his “Muddy Boots Band” in addition to his solo work.

Inspired by blues singers of the past like Bessie Smith, Leadbelly, Blind Lemon, and the Inkspots, Wilson’s music not only accurately represents the great legacy of the past, but also creates a bridge to the present with his original work. “Felix has written over 200 songs,” asserts guitarist Sottile, a stat that is easily believable considering the bottomless reservoir of his set list.

With a warbly vibrato and perfectly shaped intonation, it’s easy to see that Wilson draws much of his style from the past. “78 records are the only thing I listen to,” Wilson points out, describing his listening habits. Even his five-song demo, (available only at the band’s performances) is burned onto a black discs resembling vinyl records.

After talking with Wilson a bit more about his life, I realize that one of the reasons that he embodies the traveling drifter spirit of early folk and blues music is that it resonates with his own lifestyle. “I’m a stranger here, nobody knows my name/ everything happy I cause to blame,“ he proclaims in “Traveling Along,” a sweet little blues number. Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Wilson has been traveling and playing all over the world for several years. When asked about the busker spirit infused in his music, he reflected on his experience playing in Europe. “When I went to Europe I felt like I had joined this whole family of traveling musicians, magicians, puppeteers, dancers, statues and clowns.”

And then, out of nowhere, Wilson produces a tattered copy of a Richard Farina novel, quoting selections to perfectly describe his impressions of Europe – all a part of the street entertainer mentality, always having a story to tell, and a hundred ways to tell it.

This world-traveling street minstrel along with the Muddy Boots Band will be performing every Monday at Boundary Bay until the spring when Wilson will again take off traveling to Europe and beyond. - What's Up


Discography

Talk a Walk Opie (Full band EP)
Full band album currently due out in Spring 2008
Lummi Rez Sessions (Full Length Solo Album - Felix)
Leather Winged Bat (Full Length Solo Album - Felix)

Photos

Bio

Felix Sonnyboy has been a traveling musician since he left high school early with his diploma. His travels have found him infecting folks with his gleeful, wild music everywhere from the streets of Galway, Ireland to the byways of the Applachian Trail to the breweries of the Pacific Northwest. Felix is a timeless character and has sang with many, including other travelers, tables full of little people, and Pete Seeger himself. His music and costumes speak of a time from the past when everything was taken a little more lightly. He is imbued with a short stature and a presence big enough to overflow any stage and spill light into all the cobwebbed corners. Felix gleans inspiration from a host of Americana legends and dusty 78's that he digs out of basements and attics.

He assembled his menagerie of players in the creative foundry of Bellingham, Washington. Charlie "Cholly" Baker was playing in front of crowds before Felix was ever even born. Cholly rocks the lead guitar and back-up vocals with a seasoned gleam in his eye. "Double Thumbin' Donald" Denney holds down the big bottom end bass in tight time with Jason "Jay Bird" Darling on drums to keep the music grooving solidly in people's bodies.

The music attracts a very wide spectrum of fans, including college students, city hipsters, and gray-haired veterans of music appreciation. The band's fresh approach to old time music leaves a good feeling long after the lights go out and people lay in their beds, dreaming of simple pleasures.